Austria and Poland face fines for failing to implement EU law on making buildings more energy-efficient, the EU executive said on Thursday.
The European Commission is referring Poland and Austria to the EU Court of Justice for failing to enact the energy efficiency buildings legislation.
The European Commission is asking the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) in Luxembourg to apply a penalty of 96,720 euros ($131,900) against Poland and 39,593 euros against Austria for every day they do not comply with EU law.
Under the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, member states must establish and apply minimum energy performance requirements for all buildings, ensure the certification of buildings’ energy performance and regularly inspect heating and air conditioning systems. It also requires member states to ensure all new buildings are nearly zero-energy buildings by 2021.
The Directive had to be transposed into national law by July 2012.
Buildings account for about 40 percent of energy consumption and more than a third of EU carbon-dioxide emissions.
The EU is aiming for a 20% cut in Europe’s annual primary energy usage by 2020.
Coal produces around 93% of Poland’s electricity and the industry employs more than 100,000 people. It’s a cheap way to produce energy but it provides an enormous headache for any government trying to maintain economic growth and also meet ever-stricter EU greenhouse gas emission targets.
Much of that power – around one-fifth of the country’s electricity – is produced from just one plant, Elektrownia Belchatow, in central Poland.